Our Story

A tradition of caring

At a time when many funeral homes are owned by mega-corporations listed on the national stock exchanges, Groce Funeral Home is bucking the trend by remaining a local family business. The Groces feel strongly that they can serve Asheville families better if they remain family owned and operated. Due to their reputation for integrity and the efforts of a dedicated staff, Groce Funeral Home has evolved into Buncombe County’s largest funeral service provider.

Groce Funeral Home was founded in 1929 by the sons of the Reverend T.A. Groce, a circuit-riding Methodist minister who traveled the mountains of Western North Carolina by horse and buggy. Following the deaths of Robert Groce in 1985, Willis H. “Bill” Groce in 1991, and Fred F. Groce in 2004, the home’s tenets of honesty and fairness have been carried on by Reverend Groce’s grandsons, Dale and his brother Bill Groce, and his great-grandsons Scott and W.H. “Trey” Groce.

Groce can arrange for national and international transfers, prearrangements, and cremations, as well as traditional funerals which can be held either in our chapel, at the cemetery, or one’s home church.

Bill and Dale Groce
Bill Groce and Dale Groce

Our Founders ~ Our Mentors ~ Our Inspiration

The Reverend T.A. Groce
09/22/1878 – 08/28/1962

Rev. Groce was an ordained Methodist minister and early circuit riding preacher in Haywood and Buncombe Counties. He also served as an Army chaplain during WW I. He was called from retirement twice to found new congregations, Abernethy United Methodist Church in West Asheville and Groce United Methodist Church in East Asheville. He and his wife, Elizabeth Hunt Groce, had seven sons and he shepherded several of them into funeral service in 1929, thus beginning our long Christian based service to our thousands of client families. He is truly our inspiration.

J. Robert “Bob” Groce
07/29/1900 – 05/02/1985

Bob began his career with First Union Bank, but after serving in the Army during WW II he joined his brothers and worked as the office manager and Treasurer of the funeral home. A lifelong bachelor, he was active with the Lions Club, Masons and Shriners, and was meticulous in balancing the company books daily.

Willis H. “Bill” Groce, Sr.
09/02/1911 – 11/08/1991

In the 1940’s and 50’s Bill would wear formal long-tailed suit coats and striped pants on his funerals, while staff had matching striped slacks and short coats to match his long one. He was at his best managing high-profile services and yet he found time to serve as elected president of the N.C Funeral Directors’ Association and later as NC appointed Chairman of our licensing agency in Raleigh, The N.C. Board of Funeral Service. He and his late wife, Mary Dale Groce were parents to Joan Groce Jones (Skip). Dale Groce (Terrie) and W.H. “Bill” Groce, Jr. (Rhoda).

Fred F. Groce, Sr.
07/11/1914 – 07/20/2004

Fred probably served more families than any of the brothers; he was the most extroverted and enjoyed mingling, church picnics and suppers, the Jaycees, and the Candler Lions Club. He was a charter member of Abernethy United Methodist Church where he served on practically every committee and board except perhaps the WMU. He served as a field medic with the Army during WW II and he and his late wife, June Barger Groce had four children, Fred F. Groce, Jr., Laura Groce, Martha Lee Groce and John Groce.

Hugh Wood Groce
09/14/1916 – 06/10/2013

Hugh was the man who always had a friendly word for any office visitor as well as staff members. He also had a remarkable memory and if you needed to be reminded of an appointment or duty some time in the future, we just asked Hugh, and on the appointed day and time he would be sure to remind us. Like Bob, he was a bachelor and they shared the family home on Tampa Avenue just across the street from the funeral home office.

A Message to our Friends & Neighbors

We are humbled to be validated and honored again by the Mountain Xpress readers as their choice for “The Best Funeral Home in Western North Carolina” for five consecutive years. It is our pleasure to serve you.
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